Monday, September 23, 2019

Monday's Headlines | Weekend Box Office

Focus Features is having a heck of a time with Downton Abbey being a veritable cash cow at the box office during its opening weekend. The movie, a continuation of the story laid out in the popular TV series of the same name created and written by Julian Fellowes, earned $31 million domestically in its opening weekend. As was the case on Friday, the international receipts for Downton Abbey were almost neck-and-neck with the domestic ones. Overseas, the movie pulled in $30 million, making for a $61.8 million global gross.

This is pretty major for a movie of Downton‘s ilk. The show has accrued a strong and passionate fanbase over the years, so it was always expected that they would turn out for this feature-length film’s release. But it’s also fair to say the bar was likely set a bit lower than normal because Downton was going to have to fight for audiences as it went up against fellow newcomers Ad Astra and Rambo: Last Blood, respectively starring Brad Pitt and Sylvester Stallone, two A-listers who have been able to open movies to great rewards in the past.

The key, as it turns out, is catering to female audiences (who woulda thunk it?), as was the case with Hustlers during its opening weekend. Per Variety‘s analysis of this weekend’s box office, Downton‘s tickets sales had a female majority of 74% and 60% of those female ticket buyers were over age 35. Even more jaw-dropping, Downton averaged $10,000 per theater at the 3,079 theaters it was shown at this weekend. Add to this a peachy keen “A” CinemaScore plus lots of clamor to see how Fellowes continued the Downton saga into 1920s Britain and the movie’s success was arguably all but assured.

Fear not, because movies featuring men fraught with anguish over family-based trauma were plentiful at the box office this weekend, too, thanks to the aforementioned Ad Astra and Last Blood. Both currently boast a “B” CinemaScore and raked in relatively similar amounts of cabbage in their opening weekends. Ad Astra got the number two spot with $19.2 million earned domestically but did even better overseas, earning $26 million. Last Blood pulled in an even $19 million which, as Fandango’s Erik Davis noted in his assessment, makes for the second-best Rambo opening in the franchise’s history.

Coming in at number four is IT: Chapter Two, doing decently with $17.2 million earned in the U.S. as well as overseas this weekend. At number six is director Lorene Scafaria‘s Hustlers, starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu as the stripper ringleaders of a scam intended to take as much money as possible from their Wall Street clientele post-2008 recession. The movie raked in $17 million flat in the U.S. in its second theatrical weekend, approximately half of what it made in its opening weekend. It seems to be having a more interesting run overseas, with its international gross currently at $9.8 million. All told, Hustlers is currently sitting at more than $72 million worldwide.